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Altcoin Definition

Altcoins are all other alternative cryptocurrencies other that are not bitcoin.

Key Points

  • An “alt-coin” is a form of payment that is based on the basic concepts of Bitcoin but differs or improves in its execution.
  • Many people have developed their own “alt – currencies,” with their own laws and networks.
  • Some older concepts, such as Ripple, have been enhanced by blockchain innovation and have grown into their own entities.
  • While some are minor tweaks to the Bitcoin protocol with a small audience, others are intriguing sources of innovation.
  • Although Bitcoin is the king, several alt-coins have received a lot of acceptance.
  • These new coins have different attributes and generate their own blockchains that are independent to the Bitcoin blockchain, using the original open source software with a few modifications.

Best Known Altcoins

  • Currently more than 5,000 altcoins
  • Some of the best-know coins are: Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Stellar (XLM), Chainlink, Binance Coin (BNB)

Ethereum (ETH)

  • Ethereum is one of the most popular and globally founded projects.
  • Ethereum’s goal is to establish a decentralised range of financial opportunities that anyone in the world, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or beliefs, can use for free.
  • The Ethereum blockchain may run any decentralised application’s programming code.
  • Rather than having to create a new blockchain for each new application, Ethereum allows developers to create several applications on a single platform.
  • Ether is the cryptocurrency of Ethereum. It is mined and fuels the network.
Ethereum Logo
ETH Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Monero (XMR)

  • Monero saw the light in 2014, initially as a fork of Bytecoin. 
  • Monero allows its users to select to selectively disclose their transactional history to selected parties.
  • It has always focused on providing strong privacy while offering optional transparency.
  • Monero has a dynamic fee mechanism and a changeable block size.
  • It employs an encrypted public ledger, which allows anyone to send or record transactions while keeping the source, amount, and destination hidden from outside observers.
Ethereum Logo
Monero Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

  • Bitcoin Cash was created as a result of a fork from Bitcoin. 
  • It was established in 2017
  • This blockchain’s block size is 8 MB. 
    • Miners can earn more transaction fees if there are more transactions in a block.
    • Approximately 2 million transactions may be handled each day, compared to 250k transactions per day for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Cash Logo
Bitcoin Cash Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Litecoin (LTC)

  • Litecoin is an open-source software project and a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency.
  • Starting in October 2011, it was an early bitcoin spinoff or cryptocurrency.
  • Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin.
  • In comparison to Bitcoin’s 10 minutes, the Litecoin Network promises to process a block every 2.5 minutes.
  • As a result, Litecoin can confirm transactions significantly more quickly than Bitcoin.
Litecoin Logo
Litecoin Price Statistics July2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Ripple (XRP)

  • Ripple is a distributed open source protocol that supports tokens representing fiat cash, bitcoin, commodities, or other units of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.
  • It was launched in 2012 and is based on a distributed open source protocol.
  • Ripple claims to be able to facilitate “secure, instantaneous, and almost free worldwide financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks.”
  • The native cryptocurrency of the Ripple Ledger is XRP
Ripple Logo
Ripple Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Binance Coin (BNB)

  • Binance Coin (BNB) is a the official cryptocurrency of the Binance crypto exchange. 
  • Binance Exchange is one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the world, 
  • Binance accepts and trades other major cryptocurrencies like, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.
  • BNB was launched in 2017 and worked with the ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain before becoming the native currency of Binance’s own blockchain, the Binance Chain.
Binance Coin Logo
Binance Coin Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Dogecoin (DOGE)

  • Dogecoin was created as a fun and unconventional payment system.
  • The logo of Dogecoin is the face of the Shiba Inu dog from the “Doge” meme, reinforcing the “fun” concept behind DOGE
  • Lauched in 2013, it quickly became a fan favourite
  • Dogecoin’s block time is 1 minute as opposed to Litecoin’s 2.5 minutes.
Dogecoin correct logo
Dogecoin Price Statistics July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

KPI’s for Cryptocurrencies

Market Capitalisation

  • Market capitalisation is a term that calculates and tracks a cryptocurrency’s market worth.
  • This metric compares the current value of each coin to major conventional (fiat) currencies.
  • It is determined by the current price * by the circulating supply.
Market Capitalisation Crypto July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 20210 – Source: Bitinfocharts.com

Volume (24h)

  • The trading volume measures the number of coins that have been traded and/ or exchanged in that particular time period, usually 24hours.
  • The 24-hour trading volume of a cryptocurrency refers to how much of a coin’s value has been bought and traded in a single day.
Cryptocurrencies Trading Volume 24h

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Coinmarketcap.com

Transaction Volume

  • Measures the number of transactions that have happened over time as well as the amount of coins involved in said transactions
Number of Crypto Transactions July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Bitinfocharts.com

Exchange Rate

  • The value of one currency in relation to another.
  • An exchange rate is the rate at which one national currency is exchanged for another.
  • Exchange rates can be fiat vs. fiat, crypto vs. fiat or crypto vs. crypto.
Bitcoin Exchange Rate to USD July 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Google

Historical Bitcoin Exchange Rate Jan - Jul 2021

Print Date: 21st July 2021 – Source: Poundsterlinglive.com

Average Confirmation Time

  • The average confirmation time, also known as block time, is the time it takes for a transaction to be confirmed on the blockchain.
  • The confirmation time of Bitcoin is about 10 minutes. Newer cryptocurrencies have a much lower block time.
Average confirmation Time 2020 - 2021

Print Date: 21st July – Source: Bitinfocharts.com

Network Hash Rates

  • This metric is the network’s processing power.
  • It gives an indication of the current difficulty in the mining process.
  • Difficulty refers to the complexity to generate a SHA-256 hash for a candidate block.
Bitcoin Network Hash Rate

Print Date: 21st July – Source: Ycharts.com

Hashrate Distribution

  • With the Hashrate Distribution you can identify the biggest mining pools and their contribution to the whole blockchain.
  • This metric is never 100% accurate and it should only be used as a rough estimate.
Ethereum Hash Rate Distribution

Print Date: 21st July – Source: Blockchair.com

Bitcoin Hashrate Distribution

Print Date: 21st July – Source: Blockchair.com

Foundational Financial Services of Crypto

  • The following are the basic components of cryptocurrency financial services:
  • Once properly established and integrated, they will become the core of the payment system.

Crypto Exchanges

It’s an online marketplace where traders can buy and sell cryptocurrencies using fiat and/ or digital currencies.

Key Points

  • A crypto currency exchange is an online platform where you can exchange and trade cryptocurrencies.
  • It acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers, or to use crypto terminology, between a “maker” and a “taker.”
  • A bitcoin or crypto exchange works like a stockbroker, you open an account and you can deposit money via bank transfer and other popular deposit methods. 
  • It works similarly to exchanging money at a bank or exchange bureau: you will pay a currency conversion fee and, in exchange, you will get your new currency.

How it Works

  • The first step to start trading and exchanging cryptocurrencies is to open an account with a selected crypto exchange  and pass the verification process.
  • After this initial authentication process, verified users can fund their crypto exchange to start using the digital platform.
  • You can deposit funds with different payment methods, check your exchange to see which ones are available for you. 
  • In order to withdraw funds, you can do so by choosing from one of the available payment methods.

Special Considerations

  • Fees
    • Some crypto exchanges might charge fund transfer fees, when making deposits and withdrawals. This also depends on the payment method chosen to transfer funds.
    • In cases where your own currency is not accepted, you might have to pay conversion fees.
    • As a general rule, most of the crypto exchanges have transaction fees, that apply after each completed buy and sell order.
  • Important: Crypto exchange is NOT a crypto wallet.
    • The crypto exchange is a trading platform, the crypto wallet is a digital storage service only.
    • Most crypto exchanges also offer wallets, but they might charge a fee for this addition service.

Most Popular Crypto Exchanges

Crypto Wallets

A cryptocurrency wallet is a storage system that holds your public and/or public keys. It can be a physical device, digital program or paid online service.

A wallet is software that holds all your addresses. Use it to send bitcoins and manage your keys. […] A wallet is simply a collection of addresses and the keys that unlock the funds within.

Andreas Antonopoulos, Mastering Bitcoin

Key Points

  • Since cryptocurrencies are fully digital, you will never be able to hold a physical bitcoin or altcoin, so, in order to store them, you will need a private key.
  • Crypto wallets don’t really store your cryptocurrencies; instead, they store your private key, which gives you access to all of them.
  • There are 5 types of crypto wallets:
    • Hardware wallets
    • Paper wallets
    • Desktop Wallets
    • Mobile Wallets
    • Web Wallets.

Hardware Wallets

  • A physical piece of hardware that can be used to store your cryptocurrencies. 
  • Hardware wallets are also referred to as cold storage and non-custodial.
  • It is the safest type of wallet as it’s an offline storage.
  • You plug it to your computer when you need to manage your funds.

Paper Wallets

  • A paper wallet is a printed version of your key, which contains the key itself and a QR code, which is used for transactions.
  • It’s also an offline storage wallet, and, thus more secure than online options, but it’s also easy to loose and it an fade with time.
  • It is now an outdated type of wallet. 

Desktop Wallets

  • Desktop wallets are installed on your computer, need internet access and provide control over you wallet from your device. 
  • They work as an address for the user to send and receive crypto. 
  • You can also store your private key.

Mobile Wallets

  • Mobile wallets or wallet apps, are wallets downloadable on your mobile phone. 
  • Most desktop and online wallets come with the mobile app as well.
  • Some crypto exchanges include a mobile wallet, and vice-versa.
  • Since it’s an online platform, it’s a custodial wallet and hot storage.

Online/ Web Wallets

  • With online wallets, you don’t need to download any software to your computer or phone, meaning you can connect anywhere, anytime.
  • Unfortunately, the main drawback is that it’s more vulnerable to hacking, than other wallets.

Cold vs Hot Storage

Cold Storage

  • It is disconnected from the internet, completely offline, making it the safest crypto wallets.
  • Cold storage wallets include: Hardware wallets (physical devices, like a pen drive) and paper wallets.

Hot Storage

  • Hot wallets are the best option if you’re currently trading or exchanging crypto.
  • Connected to the internet
  • Hot wallets are vulnerable to online hacking, change in regulations and technical difficulties.

Custodial vs Non-Custodial


  • A custodial wallet keeps your private keys and digital assets safe, meaning you can always recover. It offers a backup.
  • If you lose your private key, you can always recover it.
  • It offers, for most parts, free and instant transactions.


  • Non-Custodial wallets means that no one else, except you, own your private key.
  • It is the safest way of owning crypto, since it’s not connected to the internet, it’s safe from external cyber attacks.
  • But a los wallet, also means total loss of your funds and crypto. 
  • Non-custodial wallets are cold storage, like hardware and paper wallets.

Merchant Processors

Merchant processors allow business to accept cryptocurrencies as payment method.

Key Points

  • They are the equivalent to fiat currency merchant processors (First Pay, WorldPay, Elavon, Authorize.net, Square, etc) for the most popular payment methods (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc).
  • They include the integration into the business’ website and shopping cart, and the conversion into legal tender after the purchase.
  • Common payment systems use a “pull” mechanism, in which they take funds from your account and route them via a vast and complicated network.
  • With bitcoin payments it’s different, as only two parties have access to the transaction and only at the time that it’s being made. This is called a “push” mechanism.

Likely Initial Areas For Adoption

  • Online Products: affordable merchant fees for vendors
  • Sensitive Products: HIV tests, pregnancy tests, pornography, etc.
  • High-Risk Vendors: giving access to their credit card/credit line to “risky” vendors.
  • International Customers: chargeback frauds are avoided due to the irreversible nature of cryptocurrency transactions.
  • Open Bazaar : It’s a peer to peer e-commerce application, that it’s expected to grow in popularity paving the way for similar e-commerce sites.